Like last winter, we are planning to spend time in town. Things are much better set up for it this time around. We have gas, and thanks to an incredibly bitter cold November, we have ice on the river. Also, thanks to those -20sF (which is -30sC), it was nearly impossible for us to move around and get some outside things wrapped up and battened down. Then, to top off our troubles (nothing is ever trouble free) Don ran out of tobacco, and he gets nearly sick and rather disoriented whenever he tries to quit. Because of that, and though we really wanted to, we missed a delightful Thanksgiving dinner cooked by my daughter-in-law.
In an effort to celebrate the meal without all the fixings, I heated up some canned chicken, made some turkey gravy and a box of instant rice pudding. I also opened a can of cranberry sauce. It was a pretty thin dinner but it was fun in a funny sort of way.
Now that the weather has let up, we've gotten a couple feet of new snow (fortunately not all at once). It even rained one night, but though it was warm the next day the snow packed really nice rather than turning completely to mush.
Though we have the ramp shoveled in so we can get down on the river with the machine, we haven't actually driven it yet. It's rather steep and it's important that it settles and hardens before we try to abuse it with the machine. There's nothing more frustrating than trying to dig a fairly heavy machine out when its been nosed directly into a vertical bank.
What I like to do is walk up and down the ramp as we are shoveling; it serves to push the snow down where it is needed most and pack it into place as well. I deem it good enough if I can walk up and down without slipping much, and certainly without landing on my duff. This year I did the initial walking up and down without snowshoes, but recently doing so with snowshoes to keep new snowfall packed down.
Today was my second trip out to the river with snowshoes. Since the trail to the river was already packed, I didn't put them on until I got to the top of our hill. It's awkward walking in a snowmachine trail with snowshoes; the track is too narrow and the skis are too wide.
As I walked down the trail, it was very quiet. No little birdies twittered in the trees; no bigger creatures trudged through the deeper snow off among the brush. My own noise was muffled by soft snow as I shuffled along. I never did walk like my mother thought I should, and big, heavy boots are just plain big and heavy. My method of walking is most noticeable when I'm in town, say at the mall. I've always worn my boots essentially unlaced and they do flop. This makes walking with snowshoes easier, but it's a really sloppy stride on a hard floor. It's not so noticeable with shoes, but I've finally succeeded in wearing them all out - I bet you can't guess what one thing on my shopping list is.
A few days ago, when we were out and about packing trails, I was snowshoeing the hill and carrying a can of gas up too. Don was waiting for me at the top with the machine. After several trips up the ramp, and then trudging up the hill, it being the first time this year for me being on snowshoes too, I was coming up the last stretch quite slow. Also, I do much better pulling my kiddy sled behind me than I do carrying a can full of gas, so I was setting it down frequently - it seemed like about every ten steps, but it really wasn't that bad. Don commented that it must be nice being fifty pounds lighter. Oh, man, you have no idea how much nicer it is. Yeah, I was pooped, but always, walking up that hill, summer or winter, I used to take old lady steps. Now the only time I take old lady steps is when I'm purposely shuffling in order to pack the snow.